I’m starting a new feature here at Putting It All on the Table. Occasionally I will feature an item I have collected and share something about it. In a way, collections are like memories made 3D for me. I have so many stories and memories with everything I’ve collected. It’s time to start sharing them.
For my first item, I want to share the item that started one of my favorite collections. I have a flock of sheep. I like to buy sheep when we travel and I love to find them in different colors, materials, and poses. One thing I don’t much care for when it comes to sheep is faces. I’m generally not a lover of sheep with big googly eyes or human expressions.
My first sheep came from Maine – Boothbay Harbor, to be exact. My family vacationed on the Penobscot Bay every summer when I was kid. We always stopped at Boothbay Harbor for a day to shop. This little sheep is from one of the shops we visited. I must have been about 6 years old when we bought it. It sat on my bookcase all the years I lived at home with my parents. When I got married, it moved with the bookcase. When we had our first child, it stayed on the bookcase which ended up in her bedroom. That sheep has always reminded me of the shallow, still harbor at Boothbay, with the long pedestrian bridge that crosses it. The summer of 1976, the bicentennial, we spent the night in Boothbay in a waterfront motel and saw the fireworks over the harbor on that memorable 4th of July.
My husband and I went back to Maine for our honeymoon and stayed in a little cottage at a B&B there for a few nights. We loved the quiet little cottage, even if there were ants in the bathroom and grapefruit every morning for breakfast (a person can only eat so much grapefruit). One of the best meals I’ve ever had was lobster in the rough, at the edge of a dock, served with an ear of corn that was boiled in the lobster water, and a bag of potato chips.
Years later, we were visiting Montreal with our kids and I saw this ceramic sheep (which I always think of as the spaghetti sheep) in a shop in Vieux Montreal. Suddenly, I knew that I needed to have a sheep collection. I actually didn’t buy the spaghetti sheep the day we saw it. I thought about it for a few days and as we were leaving the city, my husband detoured and followed along behind me in the minivan with the kids, as I tried to retrace our steps and find the shop with the sheep. I did find it and brought it home and I also took back the original sheep from my daughter’s room (she was not attached to it) and my sheep collection was born.
The spaghetti sheep reminds me of the old streets of Montreal, the fireworks we saw at night, and the 4 person bicycle we, not very successfully, pedaled around the waterfront. It also reminds me of my husband’s patient and giving nature. He encouraged me to buy this at a time when we had very little money because he could tell it was something that meant a lot to me. He drove back into the city and up and down the old streets, helping me find the one shop out of so many where we had seen it.
These two sheep were the beginnings of my flock.
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